BlogGreat Power Conflict

Great power conflict has become a main focus of foreign policy over the past few years. Such a shift has been energized in Europe by the necessity to adapt to the resurgence of tensions at its borders, including in the Baltic states, Crimea, and Ukraine. Coupled with increased lethality of military weapons, emerging technologies such as cyber and artificial intelligence, and increasing disregard for international norms by state and non-state actors, near peer scenarios hold significant implications for civilians. The impact of potential high-intensity warfare, deliberate state-sponsored activities on human security, and democratic governance needs to be better understood in order to mitigate future civilian harm.

For the third year, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC) participated in Geneva Peace Week (GPW). This annual week-long event is a leading forum on the international peacebuilding calendar, and the flagship event of the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform. This year, the thematic focus of the week is “Rebuilding trust after disruption: Pathways to reset international cooperation”. Geneva Peace Week 2020 aims to galvanize leadership, build trust, and contribute to transforming international cooperation in the wake of COVID-19.

As part of this forum, CIVIC held an event entitled “Towards a Stronger Civilian Dimension in Great Power Conflict: Exploring Implications of Hybrid Warfare on Civilian Populations and Democratic Governance”. The event explored the impact of hybrid tactics (information warfare, cyberattacks, etc.) on civilian populations. Panelists discussed how governments, militaries, and communities can be better prepared to face these new tactics in a way that contributes to reduced threats to civilians, while increasing the resilience of states and populations. The panel also shared practical solutions available at the local level and across government agencies on how to mitigate threats to civilians arising from such tactics.

Panelists included the following high-level academics and military experts: Elisabeth Braw  (AEI visiting fellow); Ewan Lawson (RUSI Associate Fellow); Colonel Viktor Masliuk (Military Legislation Unit Deputy Head, Ukraine MOD); Julien Théron (Lecturer in Conflict & Security Studies at Sciences Po Paris); and Jean-Marc Rickli (GCSP Head of Global Risk and Resilience), as moderator.